The Nigeria solar challenge has concluded plans to bring solar car rally to Nigeria in conjunction with Kings Polytechnic.
The Nigeria solar car initiative is a challenge designed to champion integration, support and encourage technical and scientific success in the field of engineering. It is also aimed at promoting solar car racing.
A solar car uses sunshine for fuel. The photovoltaic cells of the car collects and converts energy from the sun directly into electricity. Thus making the vehicle completely self sufficient.
The Solar Car Challenge, Nigeria, is a multi-day, cross-country road race across Nigeria, it will be taking-off from Abeokuta (south-west) to Port Harcourt (south-south) to Abuja (North-central) with a grand prize of N1 million and a trophy.
The eligibility to compete is open to any solar car teams from schools and research institutions around the country having satisfied every technical requirement.
Among schools that have already indicated interest are: Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto, Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Kings Polytechnic, Ubiaja and University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
The organising team of Mr Fred Ijewere, the proprietor of Kings Polytechnic, Ide Eguabor, Etan Ogbemi, Femi Gazallo stated that the vision of the solar challenge Nigeria is to promote educational excellence and engineering creativity fuelled by the spirit of friendly competition and teamwork.
The statement stressed further that the first edition of the 18-kilometre grand prix race being hosted by King Polytechnic and St.Francis College Ubiaja, Edo State is expected to produce cutting edge solar powered cars which will pave the way for a future of solar powered invention and revival of research and innovation among tertiary and research institution across the country.
Unlike the electric automobiles of the 20th century, the solar car racing was pioneered by Hans Tholstrup and Larry Perkins when they completed an epic Solar trek from Perth to Sydney (Australia) in 1983.
This effort is however, not unconnected with the American Solar challenge which has immensely contributed to the upgrade of this technology in the US.
The coordinator of the American Solar Challenge & Formula Sun Grid Prix, Mr Gail Lueck stated that the Nigeria Solar challenge will encourage young minds to design and build a solar powered vehicle.
The American Solar Challenge (ASC) coordinator also expressed optimism in the capacity of the Nigerian Solar Challenge to produce teams from this event for the American Solar Challenge in future years in addition to bringing the sport of solar car racing to Nigeria.
This initiative is supported by Solar energy society of Nigeria, American Solar Challenge while the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) has indicated its readiness to provide logistic support for participants in the race.
Current financial sponsors are Mobil filling station, Ubiaja and Esan towers limited. The challenge is open to additional sponsors for the participating institutions and the main venue events.